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Q & A: Eastward Ho!

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Most recent answer: 01/07/2008
Q:
If everyone in the world began to walk east at an appointed time, would the rotation of the earth slow down (in order to conserve momentum)?

Thanks!

Michael
- Michael Pratt (age 41)
Kingston, Canada
A:
Yes, but that's needed to conserve angular momentum.

If (as a very rough guess) people are uniformly distributed around the globe, their linear momenta would cancel. To the extent that there is a net momentum shift of the people, it would be cancelled by a slight change in the velocity of the Earth, not its rotation.

Mike W.

(published on 01/07/2008)

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